Democracy

How the oligarchy wins: lessons from ancient Greece

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Ganesh Sitaraman looks at what two recent books – Classical Greek Oligarchy by Matthew Simonton and Oligarchy by Jeffrey Winters – can teach us about defending democracy from oligarchs Ganesh Sitaraman The Guardian A few years ago, as I was doing research for a book on how economic inequality threatens democracy, a colleague of mine asked if America was really at risk of becoming an oligarchy. Our political system, he said, is a democracy. If the people don’t want to ... Read More »

Angola Has an Opportunity to Lead

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A change in leadership often signals a natural time for transformation and, of course, challenges. The first peaceful transition of power in Angola took place in August, with the election of João Lourenço as the new president, replacing long-serving José Eduardo dos Santos, who led the country for thirty-eight years. Eugen Iladi  The National Interest International observers called the election process fair, with the ruling MPLA party taking 61 percent of the votes. In mid-September, the Constitutional Court of Angola ... Read More »

Steve Bullock and the Lost Art of Political Persuasion

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He’s one of the most popular governors in the country. Some Democrats think he’d make a great presidential candidate There’s just one problem: Few outside of Montana have heard of the guy. GABRIEL DEBENEDETTI Politico BOZEMAN, Mont. —A small collection of the older women of Bozeman, Montana, are deep into their water aerobics class at the Holiday Inn’s indoor pool on a recent cold and gusty Wednesday when the governor strolls by. About 10 feet from the pool area, Steve ... Read More »

The Infantilization of the President

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Aides have doubted prior presidents’ wisdom, health, or sobriety, but never have so many insiders treated the commander in chief like a child. David A. Graham The Atlantic  As every toddler knows, bigger is better, whether that’s two scoops of ice cream (versus one for everyone else), a border wall, or a nuclear arsenal.And that was President Trump’s reaction during a July meeting with military and national-security leaders about the nuclear arsenal, too, according to NBC News. In total, he ... Read More »

The Prophet of Germany’s New Right

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From a tiny village in the country’s rural east, a leading nationalist intellectual builds a vision for the future of his movement across Europe. James Angelos The New York Times Götz Kubitschek, a self-proclaimed “rightist intellectual,” lives in a medieval manor house in Schnellroda, a rural village in eastern Germany. From this isolated, antique outpost, Kubitschek, who is 47, wields considerable influence over far-right thinkers, activists and politicians across Germany, who make regular pilgrimages to Schnellroda for an audience with ... Read More »

The Domestic Challenge to Kyrgyzstan’s Milestone Election

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While Kyrgyzstan’s 15 October elections are a rare milestone for Central Asian democracy, the campaign is exposing dangerous fault lines. Deirdre Tynan  In the largest city of Osh, the new president will have to face down robust local power brokers, defuse Uzbek-Kyrgyz tensions and re-introduce the rule of law. ICG Kyrgyzstan’s forthcoming presidential elections on 15 October are a milestone for Central Asia: for the first time, a president from the region will voluntarily stand down at the end of ... Read More »

Pierre Omidyar: 6 ways social media has become a direct threat to democracy

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While it’s hard to believe that helping strangers connect through the Internet was ever a radical idea, when I started eBay 22 years ago, it felt more like a social experiment than a business endeavor. Pierre Omidyar The Washington Post And in many ways, it was. Back then, online commerce was a new and wild frontier.I believed in our mission to empower people to conduct private trade on the Internet, but there were unforeseeable challenges lurking deep in those uncharted ... Read More »

Calls for Theresa May to reveal ‘legal advice’ she received on stopping Brexit

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Theresa May is facing calls to publish legal advice she received that is believed to state that parliament could stop Brexit The country’s top legal experts apparently gave the Prime Minister advice saying that leaving the European Union could be halted if MPs judge that a change of mind is in the national interest. Shehab Khan The Independent msn Prominent lawyer Jessica Simor QC, from Matrix chambers, has written to Ms May asking her to release any legal advice she ... Read More »

Why Europe Needs a New Deal, Not Breakup

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The EU is facing a crisis of legitimacy—but retreating to the nation-state will only benefit the far right By Yanis Varoufakis and James K. Galbraith * The Nation The American New Deal of Franklin Roosevelt’s first two terms combined the goals of financial stabilization, reconstruction, conservation, and employment—jobs for the jobless; public works; power systems and new industries, especially in the South; soil conservation and reforestation to battle the Dust Bowl; and a potent mix of regulations and insurance to assert ... Read More »

If Catalonia goes independent, these places could be next

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Catalonia might be the separatist region making headlines at the moment but Europe has many other separatist movements that are closely watching developments in northeastern… Holly Ellyatt  CNBC Separatist movements in Europe can range from small townships to entire regions and the motivations for wanting to go it alone are equally as diverse encompassing linguistic and cultural differences as well as economic and historical… While some separatist movements harbor dreams of gaining just a bit more autonomy from the national ... Read More »

Spain court quiz Catalan police officers in sedition case

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Spain’s National Court questioned on Oct. 6 two senior officers of Catalonia’s regional police force and the leaders of two pro-independence civic groups who have been placed under investigation for sedition. Hurriyet The case is linked to demonstrations Sept. 20-21 in Barcelona, when Spanish police arrested several Catalan government officials and raided offices in a crackdown on preparations for an Oct. 1 referendum on independence. Spanish authorities say the demonstrations hindered the Spanish police operation, and that Catalan police didn’t ... Read More »

In Canada, an Immigration Minister Who Himself Is a Refugee

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TORONTO — He arrived in Toronto, an exhausted 16-year-old, carrying nothing but a small gym bag packed with a change of clothes. As a Somali, he applied for asylum and was jettisoned into adulthood. Catherine Porter The New York Times  He registered for high school, learned to cook and landed his first job all on his own. Over the next 25 years, he put himself through college and law school, worked his way up from pouring coffee to advising one ... Read More »

Miners leave themselves open to corruption, report finds

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US President Donald Trump described it as “draining the swamp”, a political promise he made to rid business and politics of deep-seated bribery and… Adele Ferguson The Sydney Morning Herald It could equally be applied to Australia, which has had its fair share of scandals and political capture in the past few… But understanding where the risks lie can be a useful first step in tackling the problem. Following a string of mining scandals, Australia’s biggest mining states Western Australia and ... Read More »

Why Spain needs to negotiate with Catalonia

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There is a Spanish proverb that a difficult choice puts one between the sword and the wall (entre la espada y la pared) Ryan D Griffiths ABC Spain is currently facing such a choice with Catalonia Should it negotiate with Catalonia knowing that doing so may result in the secession of the region and set a precedent for others? Or should it continue to stand firm in the face of the independence demands while the tension builds, conflict continues, and ... Read More »

How Tasmanians have four times more power than voters in NSW and Victoria

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There’s a creeping disparity in Australia’s democracy that gets surprisingly little attention Population growth patterns mean votes cast in our biggest states are becoming less potent at the federal level compared to votes cast in smaller states. Matt Wade Analysis by economist Terry Rawnsley of how many federal members of parliament there are per person in each state has underscored the discrepancy. The Canberra Times In Tasmania, the smallest state, there are just over 30,000 people for each federal seat ... Read More »

How to Ensure a Credible, Peaceful Presidential Vote in Kenya

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Following the annulment of August’s historic vote, Kenya must hold repeat presidential elections by 1 November. But rising tensions and the threat of an opposition boycott could result in missing the vote’s deadline and risk a constitutional crisis Both political camps must move away from harsh words and find mutually acceptable electoral reforms to allow elections to proceed. ICG 1. Overview Kenya must hold repeat presidential elections before 1 November, after the country’s Supreme Court annulled a first vote that ... Read More »